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Book Review: The Cupcake Caper

The Cupcake Caper by Kelle Z. Riley

Book Blurb from Goodreads:

Science is about solving puzzles. Why should solving a murder be any different? Dr. Bree Watson (aka Gabriella Catherine Mayfield-Watson) is comfortable solving chemistry problems. She isn't comfortable finding her boss dead and being a suspect in his poisoning. Now she's juggling: A sexy marketing manager-who may, or may not-be a contract killer. A handsome lead detective whose interest goes beyond the case. The dead man's cranky cat. A goose-chasing dog in hot water with an animal rights group. The search for the perfect cupcake recipe. And, of course, someone who wants her out of the picture. And she thought getting a Ph.D. was hard.

Book Review:

I received an eARC from Netgalley. Thank you to the publisher and author for gifting me their work. This is my honest opinion.

The Cupcake Caperis the first book in the Undercover Cat Series by Kelle Z Riley. Tank and I picked this book because of the cover. He likes cats, and I like cupcakes. What could be better if you put them together?

We weren’t disappointed! Well, I enjoyed the book. Tank was a little let down that the cat, Sherlock, didn’t play a bigger role in the story. Maybe in the next book, Sherlock will have more of a starring role. The Cupcake Caper is a cozy mystery. The mystery part wasn’t real difficult to figure out. I was surprised that the MC, Bree, took the whole book to find the murderer, so if you want a great suspense to the end this one might not be it.

What I really liked about the book was how I was able to relate to Bree. She is a young professional that has put her personal life on hold as she struggles to build her career in a man’s world. She has to come up with fibs every time her grandmother calls as to how glamorous her life is and why she doesn’t have a boyfriend. I have had the exact same conversations with well-meaning relatives in the past. I have shared her pain. She also struggles eating right and exercising enough. Making cupcakes is more fun than running on a treadmill! I totally relate! The author makes Bree fun to read about. I laughed out loud at some of the things that happened. To top it off, there is a gorgeous guy at Bree’s work who may or may not have feelings for her. We will have to check out the next book to see what happens!

We give this book 3 paws.

It was a little predictable. It wasn’t super suspenseful or intense, but if you want fun light-hearted read this is it. Plus, there are cupcake recipes at the end! YUM!

About the Author from Amazon:

Kelle Z. Riley, writer, speaker, Ph.D. chemist and safety/martial arts expert has been featured in public forums that range from local Newspapers to National television. Her work was featured in the April 2014 "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Living with Alzheimer's and Other Dementias." Her other publications include a romantic suspense (Dangerous Affairs), multiple short stories, a self-published memoire in honor of her father, and her debut mystery series featuring a scientist-turned-amateur-sleuth. A former Golden Heart Finalist, Kelle resides in Chattanooga, TN. She is the past program chair for the Chattanooga Writer's Guild as well as a self defense instructor, a Master Gardener Intern and a full time chemist with numerous professional publications and U. S. patents. Kelle can be reached at 

She also has a dark side. To find out more, read on.

Kelle the writer.

She first began writing romance in 1999 as a hobby. It quickly became a second career. While she believes her writing skill is a God-given talent, she credits her writing success to an incredibly supportive network of professional writers, friends and family members who make it possible for her to pursue her dream. 

“I’ve come a long way since I wrote, produced, directed and starred in a time-travel play in fifth grade,” she said. “But that was probably the first time I took the dreams in my head and put them on paper.” Over the years various teachers encouraged her. “I am so grateful for them. The confidence I built during those years is what keeps me writing.” In a business riddled with rejection, confidence and perseverance are critical.

She says one of the best things she did for her writing career was to join RWA (Romance Writers of America). “The national organization, my critique partners and chapter members transformed me from a wordsmith into a storyteller.” These days, she devotes weekends and evenings to spinning tales of heartache, hubris, and happily-ever-after. In 2005 she was nominated for the RWA Golden Heart award which recognizes the best in unpublished novel length romance fiction.

Married for over twenty years, she finds her inspiration in her real-life hero of a husband. “In fiction, the hero sweeps the lady off her feet and vanquishes evil villains. But in real life, lets face it, a hero sweeps crumbs off the counter and vanquishes piles of laundry. Without his help, I’d never have time to write.” He also patiently shares her affection with dozens of fictional heroes and believes that, on some level, they are all a reflection of him.

Kelle the scientist

During the day “Dr. Kelle Z” is a Ph.D. chemist for a major industrial company where she has been responsible for developing innovative water treatment technologies since 1989. A recognized specialist, she holds four U.S. patents and is the author of numerous technical publications. “People often ask why I don’t create heroines who are scientists,” she says, laughing. “Maybe its because I try to keep the two halves of my life separate. More likely its because I’m too close to the subject. I see my technical job as creative and demanding, but definitely not romantic.”
Still, she finds plenty of inspiration in the lab. “I frequently cast coworkers as characters in future novels. You’d be surprised at the unusual plot twists they have inspired.” 

Asked if she would rather be remembered for her contributions as a scientist or as an author, she admits the decision is a difficult one. “People are always impressed with, and sometimes a little in awe of, a scientist, but the only thing they can share with you is the difficulty they had in chemistry class. On the other hand, almost everyone can identify with an author. They either tell me about their favorite book, or they tell me about the one they want to write.”

Kelle, the dark side

As if her writing and science weren’t enough, Kelle is a third degree karate black belt, and is a certified women’s self defense instructor for the nationally recognized “RADS” (Rape Aggression Defense System) program. Since beginning her martial arts career in 1985, she has studied Karate, Judo, Jujitsu, Aikido, Kendo, Arnis, Kobudo, and Women’s Self Defense. She designed and taught karate and self defense courses at the Ohio State University; the women’s “Choose to Lose” spa; local health and fitness centers; a women’s shelter; area “Women’s Ministries Retreats;” and presented self-defense talks to various writers’ groups. In addition, she has planed and hosted martial arts seminars whose topics range from self defense to advanced weapons training. 

When a fictional hero turned out to be a martial arts instructor who fell in love with a survivor of domestic violence--no one was surprised. “I wanted to write a story that had the power to change lives, as well as entertain,” she said. While the story is currently unpublished, if her contest feedback is any indication, it does indeed have power.


  1. I do like cozy mysteries but I still want them to have the 'Didn't see that coming' factor. The last few I read were ones that I had also worked out with far too much book remaining.

  2. Great review! Sorry it missed that wow factor for you!

  3. I read the title and was like "I want a cupcake" then read your review and said "I think a donut would probably work better." I don't want to be poisoned! Either way, I got hungry ;)

  4. Great review. I love cosy mysteries.

  5. Sounds super cozy. I'm sorry this one didn't really hold your interest though!

  6. I love cupcakes, I love cats, I love cozies, and I love the cover but I don't loves predictable... thanx for the review - you saved me some time ;)

  7. I love books with cats, so I totally get Tank's disappointment! Great review.

  8. Now I want a cupcake and this book.

  9. My favorite part is the author bio. She sounds like an amazing person to know. Although, I am a bit disappointed that she never studied Taekwondo. I can not wait until she publishes the martial arts story!

  10. This sounds like a cute mystery read. Also, cupcakes on the cover are a huge win for me!

  11. Great review! But the thing that caught my attention most is the cat in the cover, and the length of the author's bio!

  12. Great review. Love the fun cover. Looks good

  13. Great review, this book looks and sounds like a real fun book and very intriguing as well. I might need too check this one out one day, thank you so much for sharing your awesome post and for putting this book on my radar.


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